Meijer Wichmann, Dr Clara

Meijer Wichmann, Dr Clara

Dr Clara Meijer Wichmann

1 December 2001Feature

You could argue that a lot of things were different in 1919, but Dutch anarcho-pacifist Clara Wichmann certainly had some progressive ideas on crime and punishment.

Why is punishment inflicted? Most people don't even ask themselves that question. For them it is evident that prisons exist, cells in which those who have transgressed the penal laws of this society are locked-up, for weeks or months or even for years. They walk past these prisons, and are not disturbed by their existence.

Others, who have examined this question, find it easy to answer: a sense of justice, they say, demands repayment for injustice committed. Or they put forward the…